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I am at last a writer. Maybe I should qualify that grand statement a little. Obviously I can read and write, I am one of the 84% of Earths inhabitants that can read and write. Although if you look at the criteria for being classed as literate, the bar is not set that high. So where I am on the league table of readers and writers I have no idea, maybe in the lower half. Grammar you will have seen is not my strong point.

So when I say writer, maybe a better description should be author, yet that then implies I have published work and my tomes fill shelves in musty oak panelled libraries. Sadly I have not, yet I am hopeful, no, make that, I will be having work published, soon. Aspiring writers need to be optimistic.

Getting to where I am today, a writer, has taken a few years, actually many, a better description might be a lot! Plus the road to being a writer has been a little bumpy. Let me start, some thirty years ago when I was typing out my first thriller novel, on a loud imperial typewriter, young and innocent, plus poor, I had not created a carbon copy. Hence, when some light fingered thief saw a tempting briefcase on the back seat of my car, the only copy of my story disappeared along with a new-fangled Rockwell LED calculator. For those of you who have no idea what a pre email carbon copy is, Google it.

However, every cloud has a silver lining. I wrote to my local paper appealing for the thief to return my story, he or she could keep the Rockwell Calculator. The newspaper picked up the story and hey presto, I was featured prominently, big photograph as well. Valuable publicity. Well it would have been valuable, if I have had a story to sell at the time, which of course I didn’t. A missed opportunity.

Earning a living to support my young wife and family was a priority so the typewriter was put to one side for a while. Ironically, in a strange twist of fate, I ended up working at the same local paper that I had been featured in, as a photographer.

Which is why, when I finished my next book, with its carbon copy kept safe, I proudly presented it to one of the sub editors at the paper. Who had been reviewing books for many years. Well if you want honest to the point of painful criticism of your writing, then hand it to a sub editor who has also been reviewing books for years. To be honest, he did say the plot was good and the action captivating, positive so far. He did however pick up on more than a few grammatical errors, factual inaccuracies, plus some of my descriptions were a little too fluffy. Now, I’m not sure why, but soon after that I was given a number of assignments that needed a story written together with photographs. I like to think they saw a spark of virtuosity in my writing. These were centre page features and restaurant reviews, yet helped me hone my skills. This work encouraged me to step away from the 100,000 word novel and spend my leisure time writing short stories. Which by now were being written on a highly sophisticated Amstrad PCW, (Just Google it.) Here I actually did have a degree of success, winning competitions and even a couple published.   The story continues.......